The symptoms of burnout are not clear-cut. Burnout, also known as burnout syndrome, is a complex collection of symptoms and signs associated with occupational stress under certain circumstances. Burnout is often described as being "burned out" – an empty battery that needs to be recharged. Burnout symptoms in men do not seem to differ from burnout signs in women.
Early signs of burnout include
Exhaustion, lack of energy, feelings of weakness, sleep problems or difficulty concentrating. Doctors also cite boredom, indifference, bitterness or a loss of empathy as possible symptoms. Finally, physical complaints such as back pain, breathing difficulties or nausea can also be signs of burnout.
In total, numerous studies have described over a hundred different symptoms that can be associated with burnout. While burnout researchers have repeatedly emphasized that burnout can lead to different symptoms in different people. This makes burnout difficult to recognize and makes it very difficult for doctors to make a diagnosis.
Burnout is also therefore not a disease until today. There are no binding criteria according to which doctors can make a diagnosis. Rather, burnout seems to describe a situation in which people experience psychological stress due to job strain, which in turn manifests itself in various signs.
However, there are three main symptom areas of the burnout syndrome that can be found in almost all descriptions:
Exhaustion: People suffering from burnout are drained, exhausted, lack energy. Affected individuals are overwhelmed, tired, depressed and also have physical complaints.
Alienation: The work burdens and frustrates. Cynicism, emotional distance and callousness towards the job and colleagues appear.
Decreased performance: Lack of concentration and listlessness lead to poorer performance in the respective activity.
Exhausted, overburdened with job and private life, burned out – this is how many people who suffer from burnout feel. Certain signs show early on that the body and psyche are overloaded
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The course of burnout is often described in stages. This is probably due to the fact that at the beginning of burnout research in the late 1970s and 80s, many scientists came up with different stage models. They wanted to give a structure to the course of burnout, but the models differ from each other, sometimes considerably.
In principle, the stage models sound plausible, but they are not scientifically proven. The course of burnout is also often described as a burnout spiral. In 2012, the German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychosomatics and Neurology (DGPPN) described these models in a position paper as "completely incompatible" with international diagnostic criteria.
What to do about burnout depends on the individual case. Burnout can be caused by various factors. In order to cure burnout, doctors must therefore look at the individual circumstances and assess which therapy is likely to provide the greatest help.
Approaches to treating burnout are many:
Behavioral training, communication training, mindfulness exercises, autogenic training and even online coaching, to carry out with it the Burnout treatment at home is. Scientifically examined and in several studies tested are however few Burnout treatment offers.
In a 2012 report by the German Agency for Health Technology Assessment (DAHTA), scientists reviewed the state of research on various burnout therapies. They concluded that only cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has enough scientific studies to classify it as effective.
On the Internet you can also find numerous Burnout medication, sometimes without prescription. These have also not been scientifically studied. If, in the course of the diagnosis, it turns out that a person is suffering from depression instead of burnout, medication can help.
Basically, however, there are a few pieces of advice that anyone can use to help themselves with burnout. They can help if the person feels overwhelmed or stressed.
– Provide relief, take breaks, have enough free time and organize it. – Healthy lifestyle: pay attention to nutrition, get enough exercise, get enough sleep. – Practice relaxation techniques. – Be clear about personal demands on job and career and readjust them if necessary.
Depending on the burnout treatment, the health insurance may cover the costs. Because burnout no Disease is, the doctor can also not diagnose burnout. Instead, physicians often enter the classification code (ICD-10 code) for depression or for "problems related to difficulties in coping with life" in the certificate. The health insurance companies must pay then for example psychotherapeutic measures, because thereby psychological and psychosomatic illnesses are treated. However, they do not necessarily cover the costs of certain coaching sessions.
Burnout: Find a clinic or doctor
If a psychiatrist or psychotherapist prescribes psychotherapy to treat burnout, patients can undergo it as an outpatient or, depending on the circumstances, as an inpatient. For this purpose, there are now special clinics that offer a Burnout cure or burnout rehab offer. In the clinics, experts usually lead many different forms of therapy. In this way, everyone can claim what is most likely to help them.
The term burnout is not as young as it might seem: it was coined as early as 1974 by US psychotherapist Herbert Freudenberger. Freudenberger focused his research on the high stress levels in health and care professions – today, burnout can occur in seemingly any job, from managers to stay-at-home moms.
Although Burnout is thus already longer time the subject of the research, there is no clear definition of the term. What exactly burnout is, is not so easy to answer. If one follows the widespread international classification systems of the WHO, the so-called ICD-10, in which all different diseases are sorted, defined and given a specific code, burnout is not a disease.
In the DSM-5, the diagnostic classification system of the American Psychiatric Association, "burnout" does not appear as a separate diagnosis. In the WHO's classification system of diseases, burnout is listed under "problems related to difficulties in coping with life". There are also no fixed criteria that psychiatrists or psychotherapists can use as a guide when making a diagnosis.
From 2022 on the ICD-10 will be replaced by a new version, the ICD-11. In it Burnout receives indeed a weightier meaning. Is described for the first time as "Burnout-Syndrome.
A syndrome caused by "chronic stress in the workplace" that is "not successfully" managed. However, it is still not included in the classification system as an independent illness with a definable diagnosis. Instead, it is in the category "factors affecting health status or contact with the health care system". This category does not include specific diseases, but reasons to seek medical help – the WHO explicitly pointed this out. As the opposite of Burnout becomes. Again called "boreout. In contrast to excessive demands at work, "boreout" is said to be characterized by professional underchallenge and to lead to boredom. A scientific concept is "Boreout" not.